SERIES: Marygene Brown #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
RELEASE DATE: May 28, 2019
Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .
For generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother’s passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama’s presence.
But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man’s been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama’s spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . .
Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!
Southern Sass & Killer Cravings is what I would call a grittier cozy… it touches on some tough (potentially trigger) issues and uses some saltier language than I’m used to in cozy mysteries.
Marygene’s family is a bit of a hot mess, not the least of which is her recently-departed Mama who pops in and out to help Marygene and try to make amends for their less than stellar relationship. Yet – Mama included – they stick together when one of their own needs help and in this case both Marygene and her sister Jena Lynn need a passel of it.
The bodies keep piling up, and the plot kept me guessing until the whodunnit (and why) reveal. It’s a case with lots of twists and turns and plausible suspects – a town full of people who seem trustworthy but still may have had solid motive to kill. Marygene isn’t sure who she can trust & neither was I. Add to that, a couple of potential love interests (which Marygene approaches cautiously and slowly, given that she still has literal bruises from her ex) and readers are kept busy trying to decide who needs a purse whomping from Mama.
Bottom Line: Full of quirky small town southern charm and mouthwatering recipes, Southern Sass & Killer Cravings is an edgy cozy with a heroine who will draw readers’ sympathy for her struggles and admiration for her will to overcome them. The crude language and frequent cursing may turn away some typical cozy readers, but the bones of the story, the characters, the humor, and the well-crafted plot are enjoyable if you get past the language choices. I also appreciated the author’s thoughtful and candid portrayal of domestic abuse survivors and the subsequent hope and courage she offers to readers in similar situations.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 3.5 stars / Liked it!
Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is quite a bit of crude language/cursing scattered throughout this novel.
Kate Young writes humorous southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.
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* Grand Prize Winner receives a gorgeous Coach Avenue Tote and Coach wristlet pictured below (value $450) and a $100 gift card to either Amazon or B&N.
* 2 Runners up will receive a $10 gift card to either Amazon or B&N and an autographed paperback copy of Southern Sass and Killer Cravings.